Front Porch Blog

Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Dole (R-NC) oppose Bush sale of our National Forests

Many complaints against the national GOP, and especially Southern Senators, have been for their brutal policies regarding the environment. Time and time again we have seen them vote to give away our nation’s most beautiful and wild areas (Arctic Wildlife Refuge), weaken federal clean air laws (“Clear Skies” Initiative), and turn a blind eye to the tragedies in their own backyard (Mountaintop Removal, etc.)

We have called them out for it as much as we thought appropriate, and so it is only appropriate to thank them when they turn the corner and make the right decisions for Appalachian people and for the environment.

That’s why I would like to say a big hearty THANK YOU (my second in as many weeks) to Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) and (my first…ever?) to Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC.) Thank you for having the courage to oppose the Bush Administration’s free-for-all on 3,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Lamar Alexander deserves some recognition from the environmental community, as he has been the leading voice among southern senators for environmental protections, particularly regarding air.

“I think the administration, with all respect, needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better idea,” Alexander said Monday.

Alexander, a Republican, said selling the land would be shortsighted.

“It kind of reminds me of selling off the ‘back 40’ to pay the rent,” he said.

I got to meet Lamar Alexander a few weeks ago in DC. We thanked him for his work on Clean Air. He was very gracious and a really swell chap. His state would have lost a lot of tourism out near the Great Smoky National Park as well. If we could get Bill Frist on board, we’d be set!

The Forest Service identified 2,996 acres in 38 tracts in seven East Tennessee counties to be sold – all in the Cherokee National Forest, which consists of 640,000 acres in 10 counties along the North Carolina border.

And while we’re at it…Elizabeth Dole comes out of the closet to…

“The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act has been so important to the livelihood of North Carolina’s many rural counties, which rely on these funds for public schools and road maintenance,” Dole’s letter said.

“However, I do not believe it is a wise investment to sell our public lands in return for short-term funding of a program that deserves full funding on its own – especially when the lands have been selected without the input of local communities and park rangers.”

Give them a call to say thanks!
Senator Alexander – 202-224-4944
Senator Dole – 202-224-6342

Read the whole article at the Wilmington Star

UPDATE: Stand with Senators Alexander/Dole! We have 30 days to comment. Here are the steps you need to take.

UPDATE 2: Count Senator Burr in opposition as well! Thank him at 202-224-3154

UPDATE 3: Thank Govorner Mike Easley , he opposed it all along, and led the fight to help save the forests.





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